Dutch police are claiming a first - the first real-life arrest for a virtual burglary.
...Dutch police have arrested a teenager for stealing 4,000 euros worth of virtual furniture from an online, virtual-world hotel...
Habbo Hotel is, like the better-known Second Life, an online fantasy world. Once a hangout for uber-cool web designers, it's now inhabited by a mostly young teenage clientele, who socialise and play games in the lobbies, lounges and pools, and spend real money on virtual furniture, which they use to furnish their Habbo Hotel rooms.
Habbo currency can be bought via a credit card or premium telephone services, and furniture can cost up to $5 an item. Individually it's not much, but 90 per cent of the hotel's $60m annual revenue is earned by the sale of virtual goods.$60 million in annual revenue? You've got to be kidding, right? I'm definitely in the wrong business. But apparently it's not just burglary.
...in China, virtual property theft led to extreme, offline violence after gamer Qiu Chengwei lent a friend a valuable virtual weapon. The sword - a powerful 'dragon sabre' - is much prized in the geeky fantasy game Legends of Mir 3. When Chengwei discovered the man had sold it on eBay for £460, he found and slayed the thief using a real sword. Chengwei is currently serving a real life sentence.
I wonder if this is a harbinger of things to come. Are there any Second Lifer's (or other virtual reality gamers) out there in the Afrosphere? I'd really like to hear more about their appeal, and it would be interesting to know how many cyberworld inhabitants are adults rather than teenagers.